If you’ve read any of our posts about computational photography or the best camera to buy—and I know there are at least three of you!—then you already know that I expect next week’s iPhone 15 announcement to be the answer to two questions that are really the same: how much better can the camera get, and which camera should I buy? So, here’s the lawyer answer: it depends. But the answer is still any one of the iPhone 15 models. Here’s why.
From the perspective of traditional camera specs like f-stop, lens reach, glass, etc., the iPhone camera, like all smartphone cameras, will continue to improve, albeit by increasingly small asymptotic margins (until the versions that can shoot 3D for the Apple Vision arrive, maybe). The new periscope telescopic lens is such an example. For a rundown of all the camera specs of the new models, check out this write up at MacRumors.
But the real reason that any of these 4 new iPhones should be on your “next camera” list is Apple’ approach to computational photography. It’s just better than any camera maker’s operating system—whether it’s Sony, Nikon, Canon, Leica, Hasselblad or even Phase One, let alone any other phone camera. No matter which model you acquire, it will continue to help you make better images as Apple evolves its imaging software. 800mm at 20fps for wildlife or BIF? Eh, prolly not. Deep space objects? Likewise. Everything else? 👍
P.S. More megapixels will only matter if those pixels can actual gather more light and/or process the light received more effectively. I am candidly impressed that Apple (Sony?) is actually able to jam a legit 48mpx on to the sensor in the phone. Those 48 actually hold up reasonably well in post-processing.